Personal Development & Interpersonal Relationships

Acquire professional skills to accelerate upward move
學專業技能 加速向上流

The Hong Kong Council of Social Service yesterday released a study report revealing that the wages of sub-degree sub-degree (n)	副學位 holders are only slightly higher than secondary school graduates'. That is, sub-degrees are not of much use in helping youngsters advance advance (v)	前進 in their careers. They cannot achieve their higher targets with just a sub-degree . They also have to depend on their capability capability (n)	能力 or raise their professional qualifications through continued value adding.

The council's study on youth poverty and opportunities to improve life revealed that 53 per cent of youngsters aged 20 to 34 were earning less than the median wage median wage	工資中位數 . With little work experience, it is normal for young people to start with less. If most youngsters made more money than the median, it would be quite a concern because it would mean the middle-aged were earning lower wages.

The key lies in how to help the youth enter middle age with wages above the median and with real improvement in living standards. The study showed that one-sixth of the youngsters earned low wages and felt they had no chance to improve their lives. Society should try to provide them with hope and opportunities while they should have the responsibility to make use of them.

Role of sub-degrees shows in a decade

The sub-degree was a new product after the handover to provide students with an additional means to get into a university. Even if they eventually do not get into one, it better equips them. Many employers doubted the capability of sub-degree holders in the beginning. They would rather choose graduates from traditional diploma programmes. This can explain why starting salaries of publicly-funded sub-degree holders and HKDSE graduates are higher than those of self-financed sub-degree holders.

The Commission of Poverty's Study on Earnings Mobility conducted by the government tracked 50,000 university and sub-degree students who graduated in 2001 through the tax return system. It showed that publicly-funded sub-degree and diploma graduates' median starting wages belong to the 35 per cent group with lowest incomes. Self-financed sub-degree holders even belong to the lowest 20 per cent.

But after 10 years, the median wage of those whose studies were publicly-funded, has already risen to the top 30 per cent, while those self-financed to 35 per cent. In terms of actual income levels, that of publicly-funded sub-degree holders is still much higher, but the wages of the self-financed rise faster, narrowing the gap.

Sub-degree holders do not move upwards as fast as bachelor degree holders, but they still have the chance to improve their lives. The most important things are their performance at work as well as continued studies to acquire acquire (v) 	獲得 professional qualifications and equip equip (v)	裝備 themselves. Today, whether it is a university or secondary school graduate, professional skill often plays an important role in their promotion.

Fighting youth poverty depends on economic growth

Even when one becomes a doctor, one still has to pursue further professional knowledge. Many accountants and financial advisers have to acquire financial analyst qualifications. As for those with lower academic qualifications, courses to hone hone (v)	變完美 their professional skills are plenty, ranging  from bar bending bar bending	紮鐵 to meat cutting and design to programming. So long as they work hard, there is no worry of not being able to perfect their skills.

Of course, whether these can come into play and raise wages all depends on whether the economy can provide enough opportunities. If the economy continues to contract like in Taiwan, youngsters' wages will certainly fall.

Hong Kong's economy is receding. This may affect young people's opportunities to move higher, but they still need to learn a skill to maintain competitiveness during a poor economy and play it to the full during recovery. Just like during the 2001 economic doldrums doldrums (n)	消沉 , those who joined the workforce then enjoyed soaring wages as the economy boomed later.


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